Basement Disrupters - Virginia Frankovich

BASEMENT DISRUPTERS

There's a whole lot of norm out there. Shitloads of the stuff. You can hardly see for the amount of norm out there in the world. We love the stuff that curdles the norm. We can't get enough of the spikes in the soft bits, the bangs in the silence, the stretching, the scrunching, the kicking, the punching, the sucking, the licking, the twisting and the lifting of the norm.

We're celebrating a #DecadeofDisruption this year. Basement is nothing but a couple of black boxes in, well, a basement, without the people who come here and kick arts every week. So celebrating a Decade of Disruption, is really about celebrating those people. Here's to the Basement Disruptors. You guys keep the norm at bay.

Virginia Frankovich is an actor, director and theatre-maker who has always smashed the boundaries of form and storytelling. Her work rallies against the safe, the polite and the conventional. Whether she’s throwing food around a community hall, leading a magical performance around Auckland in moving cars, pushing actors to the realms of absurdity in a giant bed or beautifully challenging societal constructs around gender, body and sex - Virigina is a true trailblazer and the very definition of disruption within our industry.

Thanks for being a Basement Maker Virginia, we can’t wait to see where your disruptive spirit takes us next!

WHAT MOVES YOU RE: PROCESS?

I love everything about process. For me, I treat it with as much care and love as possible because I believe it is more important than the product. It’s always pretty moving at the very beginning stages of a process when you sit in a room with a group of humans that you’re going to make something with. The ‘dreaming’ phase where anything seems possible and everyone is filled with hunger and fear and anticipation of what “the thing” could be is always a magic time. And sitting in that hopeful, rose-tinted dream phase is something I like to try to hold onto for as long as possible. In my experience, processes that obsess over the finished product like a nagging psycho ex-boyfriend, have never done the work any favours. For most shows I work on, the process is longer than six months, even if that’s just me stewing over something in my head. If that whole six months or longer has consisted of harrowing and forced experiences where I’ve been pulling my hair out, I don't think it’s worth it - even if the show is great. I’m sick of this ‘tortured artist’ shtick we feel the need to fall in to. Being exhausted and pained should not be justification for choosing an artistic career. We have to be kind to ourselves and create healthy and inspiring processes if we want the arts to thrive.

 
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WHAT IS THE COFFIN OF THEATRE?

  • Health & Safety
  • The fourth wall
  • Shakespeare
  • Expensive tickets
  • Anything without haze
  • Uncomfortable seats
  • Seats in general
  • Anything over 50 minutes unless it's really fucking good

WHAT’S ONE THING THAT CAN MAKE YOU (UNREASONABLY) ANGRY?

Hovering. I mean this in its literal sense. People hovering too closely to me can really make my blood boil (especially if I haven’t eaten and there is humidity in the air). But maybe I also mean it in a broader sense. It’s exciting and refreshing to see work that is unapologetically diving head first into something. Taking a bold stance. In opinion; aesthetic or form. Something that hovers or tippy-toes around a point is of less interest to me. Cut the small talk. Let’s get down to business.

IDEAL BREAKFAST SCENARIO?

In my ideal breakfast scenario, I would wake up at around 10.30am to the distant sound of the kettle whistling. It would be a Saturday, with no sign of work in the near future and someone is playing an accordion about two streets away. The sun would pour in through the bedroom window as I discover a tray on my bed containing two softly boiled eggs and two pieces of vogels toast, heavily buttered and cut into soldiers with a dusting of salt and pepper. There is also a freshly squeezed orange juice and a flat white on the tray. Following the eggs, a stack of steaming hot crepes appear, doused in lemon and raw sugar. That sounds like heaven to me.

 
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CONSIDERING YOUR CAREER IN THE ARTS, DO YOU THINK YOUR WORK AND STYLE HAS CHANGED SINCE YOUR INCEPTION/EMERGENCE? IF SO, HOW SO?

My first piece of theatre I wrote and performed was seven years ago which consisted of me stuffing myself with iced buns and sweets as a bouffon-style deranged Gretel from the old Brother’s Grimms tale. This year, Julia and I made a show where 17 women fight and wrestle over how many saveloys they could stuff in their mouth. So I mean, what has changed?! I would say when I began maybe I was more influenced by vaudeville, clown and the deliciously grotesque anti-clown. Seven years on, I think my aesthetic has gotten messier. I give less fucks. My style has become a bit more punk, anarchic and sexual, whilst never losing my fascination with the grotesque.